Israeli defense officials say the military is carrying out an exercise preparing a new set of towns for rocket strikes by Gaza militants.

Tuesday's exercise includes communities that have not yet been hit and are not directly adjacent to Gaza. That shows Israeli concerns that militants now have rockets that can reach deep into Israel and threaten major population centers in the country's south.

The officials say the exercise will include police and emergency services, and incorporate responses for attacks on schools.

They spoke on condition of anonymity because the details were not officially made public.

The head of Israel's Shin Bet security service said Sunday that militants have rockets that can fly 19 miles and reach Israel's two biggest southern cities, Ashdod and Beersheba.